The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @

Monday, May 07, 2007

Eitan Katz Unplugged

I just picked up Eitan Katz's new CD, Eitan Katz Unplugged. It is a compilation of ten Shlomo Carlebach niggunim that were either never recorded by Reb Shlomo (albeit most were recorded by others after his petirah), simply not well known, or well known but not associated with Reb Shlomo.

The CD is beautiful. Very mellow and laid back. Beautiful vocals by Eitan, nice additional vocals by Eitan himself, Nochi Krohn, Shlomo Katz and others, and very fine arrangements. The percussion work by Shaya Lieber is particularly noteworthy.

The CD is worth the price just for the first two niggunim, Yisborach Shimcha and Shuvi Nafshi, tunes that I fisrt heard on a live recording of one of the Shlomo Yahrtzeit concerts at Binyanei Ha'umah. The third tune, Al Tirah (Utsu Eitzah), is one of those tunes that I can't believe I didn't realize was a Shlomo niggun. The seventh tune, V'sechezena is a tune that I never heard before and includes uncredited vocals by Eitan's brother Shlomo. Awesome.

The rest of the tunes are also very sweet. (The only thing I would have left out is the tenth song, a mellow version of Niggun Neshama. Not that it isn't done beautifully; I just think the song is overexposed).

All in all, I really excellent CD.

(Full Disclosure: Although I had nothing at all to do with the production of this CD, I still get a shout out in the CD jacket. That doesn't change the fact that it is still an excellent CD).



  • At 2:54 PM, Blogger yitz said…

    It is a compilation of ten Shlomo Carlebach niggunim that were either never recorded by Reb Shlomo (albeit most were recorded by others after his petirah), simply not well known, or well known but not associated with Reb Shlomo.
    Okay, you covered yourself here, but for the record, all but 4 of the songs WERE indeed recorded by Reb Shlomo. True, they were mostly on early recordings that were out of circulation for many years, but they are well known to those who follow him closely.
    Of the 4 remaining, Ma Tovu is likely not to be R. Shlomo's composition, but rather that of Tanchum Portnoy [this according to Itzik Aisenstadt, a good friend & an expert who knew R. Shlomo since the 50s]. I don't believe that Odcha or V'techezena were ever recorded before, but please reveal who did if I am wrong.

  • At 4:13 PM, Blogger MoChassid said…

    either never recorded by Reb Shlomo (albeit most were recorded by others after his petirah), simply not well known, or well known but not associated with Reb Shlomo.

    I'm not sure that your "for the record" is much different from what I wrote.

    I will be seeing Shlomo Katz tonight and I will ask him about Ma Tovu and the other tunes. He is a pretty big buki on Shlomo niggunim and if he thinks Ma Tovu is Shlomo's niggun (as I'm sure he does since he was Eitan's source for the CD) it will be interesting to hear his reaction to your sfarah.

  • At 4:20 PM, Anonymous jade said…

    Wow! You are going to see Shlomo Kazt in person!? Very cool! You must be special.

  • At 9:32 PM, Blogger FrumWithQuestions said…

    I do not have the album yet but if it is the same V'techezena i am thinking of, I have it on one of his CDS. If it is a different version then the one i am thinking of i will have to wait until i get the CD

  • At 12:31 AM, Blogger MoChassid said…


    Shlomo and I were both attending my Rebbe's daughter's wedding.

    Yitz: Shlomo will look into his source for the Ma Tovu. He went back to Israel tonight so I will get back to you soon. He believes that no one has ever recorded Odcha and V'sechezenah.

    FWQ, must be a different version.

  • At 8:11 AM, Blogger yitz said…

    Hi Mo, I understand that I wasn't really arguing with you, just with your basic premise of "simply not well known, or well known but not associated with Reb Shlomo," which may apply to you, but does not apply to others who are more familiar with his music.
    True, Shlomo Katz knows a lot about R. Shlomo, and has a lot of his unrecorded music [that is, private tapes, rather than studio recordings], but he does not trump Itzik Eisenstadt in his expertise, as he himself will tell you. I've met him personally as well, at his home in Yerushalayim.
    FWQ - the V'techezena on this recording is NOT the one previously recorded by R. Shlomo, which is a much slower waltz tune than the upbeat dance tune here. You can check out the samples on the link in MO's post.

  • At 10:05 AM, Blogger MoChassid said…


    When I showed your comment to Shlomo, he was not at all defensive. On the contrary, he was very intrigued. He promised to go back to his source material and try to figure it out.

    I also showed your comment to Moe Rosenblum who was also at the wedding last night. He had two thoughts: (a) Ma Tovu doesn't sound like a Shlomo niggun, and (b) he agreed with your assessment that Itzik Aisenstat is the real deal.

    I find this fascinating.

  • At 12:08 PM, Anonymous Simcha Man said…

    A fan like you NEVER heard vsechzenah???
    It is on at least one if not a few Reb Shlomo Albums, it is one of my (and my extended chevra of freiends) all time favorite and oft sung shlomo negunninm.

  • At 1:23 PM, Blogger FrumWithQuestions said…

    Yitz and MO- I listened to the clips last night and you are right about the Vetechezena and it was not the one I was thinking of which is on some of his albums. Why doesnt someone ask BenTzion Solomon who also has lots of private recordings and knows the origins of most niggunim?

  • At 1:51 PM, Blogger MoChassid said…

    simcha man

    I think you are referring to a different vesechezenah.


    We will get to the bottom of it soon.

  • At 2:19 AM, Blogger yitz said…

    Everybody: Even the venerable Ben Zion Solomon recognizes Itzik Aisenstadt as the "Keeper of the Treasury of R. Shlomo's Niggunim" [see his liner notes on the "Give Me Harmony" recording]. Bli neder, I will ask him again soon to reconfirm what I wrote, I'm pretty sure that's what he told me, but I definitely recall him saying that this "Ma Tovu" was NOT a R. Shlomo composition [although there is a recording of R. Shlomo singing it].
    Which leads me to something - although he composed tons of niggunim, R. Shlomo did occasionally sing the niggunim of others - Tanchum Portnoy, Moshe Shur, Eli [?] Hartman, and of course those of the earlier Chassidic Rebbes, especially Modzitz, but also RLY of Berditchev, Chabad, Bobov, etc. He also sang "Afro-American spirituals" which he DEFINITELY did not compose, such as Kumbaya, Don't you Weep after Me, etc.

  • At 4:31 AM, Blogger Crazeyb said…

    Check out these videos of Eitan Katz live in Sameach's studio -


    Yisbarach Shmicha

  • At 10:04 AM, Blogger yitz said…

    You can also hear Shlomo Katz, recorded live in NY at the Israel Day concert here:

    or go to Arutz-7's radio page:
    and look for Sunday May 6th, Israel Day concert, Hour 3, where you can listen and/or download it. Shlomo's part begins at around the 6-minute mark.

  • At 11:39 AM, Blogger Natan said…

    This is a fantastic CD. I absolutely loved Eitan and Shlomo's first album thought I was not as thrilled with L'maancha, Unplugged is right back where Eitan should be.

  • At 10:44 AM, Blogger yitz said…

    Okay, this took a while, but here's the scoop. From my converstation a few minutes ago with Itzik Aisenstadt: Reb Shlomo used to sing this tune at NCSY gatherings in the late 1950s and early 60s. It is apparently an old "chazzanut" piece, NOT Portnoy [before his time] BUT definitely NOT Reb Shlomo's. Hope this clarifies matters; BTW, Itzik told me that Shlomo Katz also asked him about it, apparently because of this blog!

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